So we hear hear through the grapevine that Stuart Braunstein‘s and Ronnie Rivellini‘s Collective Hardware is about to go down the chute. How you wonder did this happen? Well, on the surface the outfit is a steep $1million behind rent and even until now downtown insiders had been wondering how they could keep side stepping a landlord who by now must have been losing all his wits trying to get the group to come clean. No more astounded were Braunstein and Rivellini who had at this juncture built themselves homely abodes were they would live and ‘hang’ with the motley crew called the downtown scene. Something we would remind Mr Braunstein is illegal in a commercial dwelling but who cares about legality when you have an ego and a complex to feed. But then again – when you’re wild at heart, sometimes your wild in action too…
On one occasion this author was astounded when he arrived at the premises to find the council’s resident coke head, a poor washed up photographer (very well known in the downtown nightclub scene) who for the love of decorum and self restraint couldn’t contain herself having all her possessions which she had by now (to Mr Braunstein’s chagrin) stored at Collective physically strewn all over the footpath. One could easily see her on most evenings chopping up what in this author’s opinion appeared to be long lines of cocaine and offering them to the denizens who would pile in at all hours of the night and of course eventual daylight. And here she was now late November 2009 having the same people she treated tossing her life possessions out on the street. What a sorry sight. A cursory appeal to Mr Braunstein for some human regard for this misguided individual only elicited a wild stare and a heavy disregard. How strange that now he too finds himself in the same position.
When we initially sent one of our writers back of April 2008 he was appalled by the depth of machismo attitude and surly overtones of ‘glam thou is better than you.’ With princess model types prancing and Mr Braunstein dj-ing the world was about to become a part 2 Factory or so they thought. Curious we came back in September and sat down with the Mr Braunstein and Mr Rivellini and decided to give them the time of day. In return for our uplifting article I was asked by Mr Braunstein to become the unofficial documenter of Collective Hardware’s destiny. A thrill that I momentarily relished in.
One day late October the building caught on electrical fire. How it didn’t go completely down in flames is still a mystery to those who saw the after effects. What wasn’t publicly disclosed at the time were the efforts of a painter- Eric and coincidentally myself who were at the time (2.45am) the only ones in the building working on two separate floors-as by now Stuart Braunstein and his crew had all gone to party at co-Facebook founder (and apparently part investor of Collective Hardware) Sean Parker‘s house .
Fortunately we were able between the two of us to control the fire (Eric had more bravado than me and went in upstairs with a fire extinguisher we were able to locate) and call the fire brigade in a timely manner.
To say we were heroes is a ludicrous thing, we were only doing what came natural- and although Eric the painter in question would later cry up and down the street and into the earlobes of downtown hipster hero Paul Sevigny that this I had nothing to do with getting the building out of harm’s way is a mad trip to the ego house. Does anyone notice a pattern here? Perhaps next time I’ll turn my phone off and just walk away. But that’s something you never do when you want to see a collective vision come to fruition.